Center Stage Farmland

If you value open land and local food, donating to conservation is a way you can take action and take care of what you love.

The Dungeness Valley, with its unique micro-climate and top-rated soils for farms, is the linchpin of the rural feel of this place. Land conservation is an excellent way communities like ours can plan for the future they want where farms remain a cornerstone of our home. The community impacts of these conservation projects include: preserving farm soil, scenic vistas, and the connectivity these centrally located farms offer the surrounding farmlands and habitat.

Excellent farmland is crucial to the future we want — one in which a diverse economy and open space are key elements. Conservation easements lower the cost for farmland, allowing the next generation of farmers to purchase land at a lower cost, making farming more affordable, especially for new farmers. Center Stage Farmland is focused on conserving USDA prime farmland that meets climate resiliency benchmarks to help ensure it will remain productive farmland despite the changing climate, and be affordable for farmers to purchase and farm.

To date, this community has protected 22 farms through the North Olympic Land Trust. Thank you! The work done today at Mid Valley Farm and Dungeness Hub will propel us into the future of farmland conservation. Your donation today will help us protect and steward conservation projects, forever.

With over 20 years of farmland conservation, our community together with North Olympic Land Trust (and the former Friends of the Field) has ample examples of successfully conserved farmlands. Read about Wonderland & the 80, Historic Ward Farm, and Dungeness Valley Creamery.

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Near the mouth of the Dungeness River, Dungeness Hub is noted on the map as the red patch along the northern portion of the Dungeness river. Of note is its proximity to other farmland, and to already conserved lands. Further south, along Sequim-Dungeness Way a large red patch identifies Mid Valley Farm. Surrounding Mid Valley are developments, underscoring the risk this farmland faces without permanent conservation.

Mid Valley Farm

Mid Valley Farm is approximately 56 acres, made up of 45 acres of prime farmland, 8.5 acres of forestland and a 1.9 acre building envelope which includes a farm house and agricultural infrastructure. The large farm’s central location means that many surrounding farmers can lease and work the land beyond the current owners. It is currently leased and worked by Maple View Farm, who have farmed the land for a number of years and are one of only two remaining dairies in Clallam County. 

Mid Valley provides two types of habitats for wildlife: 8.5 acres of forestland create a buffer zone between farms, critical to many animal species, like birds of prey. The farmland itself is excellent habitat for swans (trumpeter and tundra) and cackling geese. Mid Valley is appreciated by the general public for its scenic values. Conservation of this farmland will preserve local and regional landscape values important to residence and tourists. 

The threat to this property is huge, with the potential for 11 separate housing sites (5 acres per unit). A conservation easement will mean this important farm will not be subdivided and will instead ensure it remains available for farming forever.

Dungeness Hub

Dungeness Hub is located on 9.79 acres of prime farmland soil. This farm has fields, orchards, infrastructure and a central location crucial in supporting the surrounding working farms. The appropriately-named “Hub” provides farming infrastructure, a retail facility, and critically needed refrigeration. Conservation would prevent subdivision into 2 residential lots, and would preserve the shared infrastructure and farming for generations to come. 

Additionally, 330 feet of Dungeness River frontage would receive habitat protection. The River supports Steelhead, Chum, Chinook, Coho, Pink, Cutthroat, and Bull trout. It is also a habitat for birds like Harlequin Ducks and Trumpeter Swans.

Preservation of this farmland will also conserve important agricultural landscapes within the region, enjoyed by residents and tourists. 

Why Now

Aerial view of Dungeness Hub by John Gussman

 

Both farms—Mid Valley and Dungeness Hub—are centrally located between farmlands and important forest and river habitats. This connectivity between lands and habitats helps preserve the soil and natural elements across the whole area, from ensuring storm water runoff is not disrupted through fragmentation, to shared resources between farmers, evident on both Mid Valley and Dungeness Hub. Working closely with other farmers in the area, we know that local farmers need access to affordable land – this campaign helps ensure that by making prime farmland more affordable through conservation easement purchases. Additionally, we are seeing an increase in the conversion of farmland to residential and commercial use, which permanently removes the land from farming. This historic farmland cannot be replaced. Now is the time to protect it–forever. 

Farmland Fragmentation

Mid-Valley Farm by John Gussman

 

In 1945, there were 1,133 farms in Clallam County. At last count, there are now 528 (as of 2017). Farmland fragmentation is an after-effect of increasing land prices and the attractiveness of subdividing farmland for residential and commercial use. In 1950, the average size farm was 70 acres. Today, the average farm size is 33 acres, largely due to fragmentation. If this trend continues, there is real concern that the farming economy will lose its critical mass to remain viable. Support for Center Stage Farmland will prevent further fragmentation and loss of farmland.